Energy companies and their personnel will need to have a broad understanding of the industry and available technologies if they are to survive, according to David Wood, Principal - David Wood Associates, and Director of a new distance learning programme from IBC Global Academy: The Fundamentals of the Energy Industry.
What is the biggest challenge facing the energy industry?
- The biggest challenge the industry faces is how to reduce its carbon footprint in a cost-effective and timely manner.
- The current energy mix, which is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels, is putting too much carbon and other pollutants into the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the best energy mix varies from country to country.
- It will take significant political will to achieve appropriate energy solutions in the big energy-consuming countries.
What key issues will shape the direction of the industry in the next 10 years?
In addition to the emissions challenge just discussed other key issues for the industry are:
- Securing future energy supplies (for importing nations).
- Making carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology economically viable.
- Improving the efficiency of our energy consumption.
- Using smart grid technology to enable embedded power generation from renewable sources.
- Deploying nuclear power on large-scales and small scales safely and cost-effectively.
What can energy companies do to prepare for the challenges ahead?
Energy companies need to train their younger employees to attain a broad knowledge of the industry as a whole. This will enable them to build on the experiences of their more senior employees that are approaching retirement.
Many of the industry’s customers (particularly those of power utilities) now expect their suppliers to be able to provide them with clean renewable energy supplies as at least part of their energy mix.
How can industry personnel be ready for the changes facing the industry?
The short answer is to make themselves aware of the issues and resources and technologies available to tackle them across the industry as a whole. These issues are not going to be solved by each energy sector working independently. It requires a coordinated effort.
Interview with David Wood, author and course director for the Fundamentals of the Energy Industry distance learning course. July 2010